pq is not the same, the optics aren't as good, it's just a far more challenging feat to accomplish. so even the best of them, with amazing optics, don't present a really great value.
we use a lot of them at school, the projector is mounted right off the screen, and in all honesty I think it's a LOT more distracting having the projector super close to the screen. I mean it's not like the ultra short throw projector will be mounted on the 15ft ceiling or ground anyway. it's still going to be right at the top of the screen, except instead of being behind you, now it's dead center, 3inchs from the screen you're paying attention to.
here's some questions for you/your friend:
-can you mount the screen higher? or get a projector with more vertical lens shift? would mounting a projector 2-3 ft down from the ceiling still be an issue?
-can you shelf mount the projector?
-can you rack mount the projector?
Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One